You may have a smart energy meter in your home or flat, or may have been offered one, but what are the benefits of smart meters, and are there any disadvantages?
What are smart meters?
Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters and offer a range of intelligent functions.
For example, they can tell you how much energy you are using through an In Home Display (IHD). They communicate directly with your energy supplier, meaning you will get accurate bills, and there will be no need for your energy supplier to visit your home to read your meter in future.
Smart meters will be rolled out as standard across the country by the end of 2020, but there is no legal obligation on you to have one.
Benefits of smart meters
Smart meters bring a wide range of benefits. For example:
- smart meters give you near real-time information on energy use – expressed in pounds and pence
- you will be able to better manage your energy use, save money and reduce emissions
- smart meters will bring an end to estimated billing – you will only be billed for the energy you actually use, helping you budget better and smoothing out those spikes and troughs
- in time, smart meters will make switching suppliers smoother and faster, making it easier to get the best deals, with help from the Connections Experts at Please Connect Me, of course!
You won’t be charged separately for a smart meter, if available, or for the In-Home Display. Under current arrangements you pay for the cost of your meter and its maintenance through your energy bills, and this will be the same for smart meters.
Benefits for prepayment customers
Smart meters can work both in prepayment or credit mode, and prepayment customers will see some particular benefits from having a smart meter. For example:
- your energy supplier may be able to offer you new and more flexible ways of topping up your meter that don’t require you to visit a shop
- you’ll be able to see your balance on your easy-to-access In Home Display, so you don’t unknowingly run out of credit
- your smart meter can be set to top up automatically, so that if you do run out of credit at night or when the shops are shut you won’t be left without power
Further information on the benefits of smart meters, what they are and how they work, is available on the Smart Energy GB website.
In the meantime, the first generation of smart meters may temporarily lose some smart functionality depending on which energy supplier you switch to. In most cases, the meter can still be used in ‘traditional’ mode if the new energy supplier cannot support the smart functionality when you switch to them. The In Home Display issued alongside the smart meter should still continue to operate and show you near real time information about your energy consumption.
To find out which energy suppliers work best with existing smart meters, or to check whether you’re currently on the best plan, contact our Connections Experts right away to see how we can help.